President Obama speaks on the economy at the Cuyahoga Community...

President Obama speaks on the economy at the Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. (Getty) Credit: President Obama speaks on the economy at the Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. (Getty)

President Barack Obama cast his re-election battle with Mitt Romney as a clash between starkly contrasting philosophies on Thursday, as both men tried to convince separate crowds in the battleground state of Ohio that their economic policies were the right ones to fix the struggling U.S. economy.

Romney struck first in a speech that ended four minutes before Obama took the stage.

"He's been president for three and a half years," Romney said. "And talk is cheap. Actions speak very loud. If you want to see the results of his economic policies, look around Ohio, look around the country."

Obama, standing at a podium that bore the motto "Forward," accused Romney of wanting to resurrect Republican economic policies that preceded the 2008 crisis and plunged the United States into a recession.

"We can't afford to jeopardize the future by repeating the mistakes of the past," Obama said.

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